9 Reasons People Need To Stop Romanticizing "Natural Births"

Ad failed to load

I was pregnant for the second time in my life and nervous about everything. I had lost my first child to preterm labor and worried my second pregnancy would go wrong, too. I watched The Business Of Being Born, read about Hypnobirthing and the Bradley Method, and researched articles that discussed, at length, “natural birth.” An unmedicated birth seemed beautiful, ideal, and the "right way to go." However, and upon closer inspection, it’s not always the best option. In fact, there are more than a few reasons why people need to stop romanticizing “natural births," including but certainly not limited the need to be honest about childbirth in general.

Emphasizing the need for a natural birth can be problematic for many pregnant woman. While there certainly can be some benefits to avoiding interventions, like excessive monitoring and pain medication during labor, that doesn’t mean opting for said interventions is a terrible idea, or even harmful and unnecessary. Every pregnancy and every birth experience is different.

I wholly respect moms who want to try to a water birth or don’t want a hep-lock administered or want to be able to eat during labor. However, I also respect moms who decide that maybe an epidural is the way to go. Romanticizing one type of birth experience as special and beautiful and essentially "perfect," is in no way helpful to women who, like me, are terrified something in their pregnancy will go wrong and, as a result, just want to receive fact-based information that allows them to make the most informed decision. Here's why:

Ad failed to load

It Shames Moms Who Want Or Need Interventions


From the get go, the term “natural birth” shames parents who schedule and/or need c-sections and other interventions, by classifying their birth experiences as “unnatural.” I mean, who is to say what “natural” is, anyway? Really, it’s a lot like the term “natural” on food labels: it means nothing.

It Can Pressure & Endanger Moms Who Are High-Risk


Lots of parents might want to have an intervention-free birth or home-birth, but can't due to specific circumstances related to their pregnancies (that are entirely out of their control). I was one of those people, and because of all the hoopla surrounding how “amazing natural births” can be, and because I was surrounded by people who really and truly believed interventions are the devil, I wound up putting myself and my son at risk when I decided to try to have a home birth. It’s something I live with daily and do, in fact, regret.

Your Labor Might Still Be Long, “Natural” Or Not


Some folks believe that having an unmedicated “natural” birth can result in shorter labor. Well, someone should have told my son that. I was in labor for roughly 12 hours, all “natural.” I guarantee you, there's nothing short about 12 hours of relentless contractions.

Ad failed to load

A “Natural Birth” Doesn’t Mean You Won’t Experience Birth Trauma


My midwife tried to convince me that birthing my son at home would be a much more intimate experience, and less traumatic than my previous hospital birth. However, when things weren’t going well and I realized I needed to be transferred to the hospital, my previous trauma was triggered and new traumas occurred.

A “Natural Birth” Doesn’t Protect You From Birth Injuries


For me, one appeal to a “natural birth” was having a midwife who would help protect my perineum, reduce tearing, and help me birth my child. It was a great theory, but my midwife failed me and really didn’t do much to help me out in the perineum department. So, when I was rushed to the hospital, the OB- GYN essentially ripped me in half to get my baby out. Worst pain of my life.

A “Natural Birth” Doesn’t Guarantee A Healthy Baby...


By the time I was ready to give birth, I’d convinced myself that a “natural birth” would give my son all the proper chances at being a healthy baby. Unfortunately, things can happen beyond your control. My son was born with persistent pulmonary hypertension. If it happened to me, it could happen to anyone.

Ad failed to load

...Or That You’ll Have Zero Problems Breastfeeding


My son was sent to a NICU across town, which complicated breastfeeding from the very beginning. Add an incredible amount of stress to the mix, and quite possibly undiagnosed insufficient glandular tissue, and breastfeeding was nearly impossible. Did I mention labor and delivery are, at the end of the day, mostly out of our control?

You’ll Get To Bond With Your Baby No Matter What


At the end of the day, I have had three years to bond with my son (and countless more years to go). I may not have been with him the first two days of his life, but I have stuck by him ever since.

There Are Other Ways To Feel Empowered


I don’t think that you need to experience “natural birth” to feel empowered. Carrying a pregnancy is a feat in and of itself. You should already feel empowered, and more so once you become a mom and hold that baby. The labor is short lived, and in the end, the most important part is parenting that child.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

13 Unique (& Totally Not Mainstream) Mother's Day Gifts For The Hipster Mom

Hipsters thrive on being outside the norm and not really digging anything considered "mainstream." Whether it's in their fashion, what music they listen to, the books they read, or how they enjoy beverages, there's just something that makes them dist…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's How To Introduce Your Pet To Your Baby & Make Everything As Calm As Possible

Our home, which we lovingly refer to as “the funny farm,” is filled with four-legged family members. We have two crazy beagles and two cat jerks, and boy are they loved and spoiled. (As they should be.) But we are now finally having a baby of our own…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills